Arkansas’ Medicaid plan in jeopardy after work rule decision

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - An effort to keep Arkansas' Medicaid expansion has failed in the state House, two days after a federal judge blocked a requirement that those on the program work in order to keep their coverage.The majority-Republican House voted 52-28 Friday in favor of the budget for Medicaid and the expansion program, nearly two dozen votes shy of the 75 needed in the 100-member chamber to send the legislation to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's desk. It's unclear when the House will vote again on the proposal.

Online records indicate the vote was split among the members of the North Central House delegation, with Representatives Jack Fortner of Yellville and Michelle Gray of Melbourne voting in support, Nelda Speaks of Mountain Home and John Payton of Wilburn among the 28 opposing and Marsh Davis of Cherokee Village voting present.

Earlier this week, SB99 passed out of the Senate 27-4, with two members not voting and two voting present, including Senator Scott Flippo of Bull Shoals. Senators Missy Irvin of Mountain Home and Breanne Davis of Russellvile voted in support.

The vote comes after a federal judge on Wednesday blocked Medicaid work
requirements in Arkansas and Kentucky. Hutchinson on Thursday urged the federal government to appeal the ruling and said he wants lawmakers to maintain the expansion, which covers about 235,000 low-income residents.

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